Ovarian activity, transuterine embryo migration and prenatal losses in Ethiopian highland ewes

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Abstract

A study was conducted on 1442 Ethiopian highland ewes to determine the seasonality of ovarian activity, intrauterine embryo migration and prenatal reproductive wastage. Assessment of ovarian follicular activity revealed that a higher (p < 0.01) proportion of ewes ovulated in the dry season than in the heavy and light rainy seasons. However, there was a tendency (p = 0.057) of decline in the mean number of ovulations per ewes during the light rains. The mean diameter of the largest follicle on the ipsilateral ovary was higher (p < 0.01) in both ewes with single and those with twin corpora lutea (CL) than on the contralateral ovary; and, compared to ewes with single CL, it was higher (p < 0.05) in those with twin CL. The right ovary was more active (p < 0.001) only in single-ovulating ewes. Similarly, a higher (p < 0.001) proportion of ewes were pregnant in the right horn. Embryos migrated to the opposite horn in single-, twin- and triple-ovulating ewes. There was a higher (p < 0.001) tendency for the left-to-right migration than the opposite. There was significant (p < 0.01) association between embryo loss and site and number of ovulations. Embryo loss was higher (p < 0.01) in ewes with twin ovulations on the right ovary. It is very likely that these results indicate a better chance of embryo survival in the right uterine horn.

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